Ioana Ardelean, winner of AUTOR’s 13th edition Awesome Award with her collection entitled “Choreographic“, is a talented architect and author of contemporary jewelery.
Winning this distinction gave her the opportunity to attend a course at Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School in Florence, one of the most prestigious jewelry schools in the world. Ioana shared with us her experience with Alchimia, a transforming and inspiring story:
“I am attracted to the idea of school as an oasis. I appreciate avant-garde and I consider Alchimia a school of avant-garde, and this is the maximum appreciation that I can think of.Therefore I would like to share with you all my idea of a vivid place where both students and teachers can express, experiment and confirm ideas, materialize them with their own hands, criticize them, and then release them to the world as palpable reality.
I strongly believe that this process should reflect its results in a better reality and sometimes in a crucial turn for society. By this I mean Avant-garde, a much needed direction for contemporary society. I also understand school as an extreme environment, where every aspect of the process has to be acknowledged and criticized, in order to become credible and loaded with content. This means also a lot of involvement, and constant intellectual challenge for both teachers and students. From my point of view these places take the world further.
I think it is vital to always have the best interlocutors, either teachers or students. I seek experiment and I am motivated by this kind of interaction. Having this in mind, I have started my journey to Alchimia, animated by admiration and enthusiasm. I have heard about it before, and I was convinced by the potential that I would find there. So I am really grateful to Autor Awesome Award for offering me this privilege.
Interacting with Lucia Massei, Doris Maninger or Daniela Boieri and the other invited artists and teachers is in itself an extremely important experience. I enjoyed the school’s atmosphere: everyone working and involving in this process, discussing and presenting or exhibiting the results. There’s this air, that you can’t stop inhaling.
One of the most relevant episodes was seeing and touching objects made by Lucia Massei, Daniela Boieri, Ralph Bakker and many other great artists, but most of all discussing about these objects (at a very high level) with the tutor (in my case Daniela Boieri) or directly with their creator. It’s a very useful and convincing experience; it places you in a perspective of constructive criticism and self-criticism.
The first thing I had to do at Alchimia was to introduce myself by presenting my work. After showing the two collections that I had at that time – Bare fabrication and Choreographic – and my interest in working with metals, they recommended I learned how to produce alloys. This was relevant for my style of work – a kind of cocktails of melted metals in different recipes, and new material qualities than I can enjoy!
The idea of creating a necklace came from this fresh cocktail. Then followed a technical object – a brooch mechanism. Overall I was more interested to summarize not the finalized objects but the questions to be addressed. So both of the pieces I started at Alchimia were rather questions that found their answer later on. For instance I can say that only now I am truly pleased with the brooch mechanism, when I finally created my own signature detail for the new collection “Ephemeral Matters” for Autor 2017.
As I was saying, from my point of view it was very important to experience this school and the interaction with the tutors, because it’s relevant to place your work in the best context of critique and feedback. Not to mention the wider context of Alchimia, meaning Florence as a relevant environment and exactly the kind of reality that I mentioned before, reflected obviously from a perpetual process of generating content and leading ahead.
One of the things that I resonate with and that got confirmed at Alchimia is that technique is important. One has to master it at art level, but has to forget it before falling into mannerism. I would continue with an idea coming from my background in architecture: there has to be complexity both in the concept and in the technique, and in order to master this, one has to build and substantiate an entire universe in his approach.